Facing the Fear of Failure: How Kickstarter Helped Me Overcome Self-Doubt
Facing the Fear of Failure: How Kickstarter Helped Me Overcome Self-Doubt

Facing the Fear of Failure: How Kickstarter Helped Me Overcome Self-Doubt

The Vampire War Special Edition Kickstarter Omnibus ended almost a week ago. There are still a few things that need to be done on the backend, such as fixing any open errored pledges and receiving payment, but I now have some time to sit back, think about everything, and really process my emotions.

At the start of this year, I said that I wanted to assess things, especially related to my fears. I knew I had a few things that I battled with when it came to business and writing. It wasn’t necessarily about money or success, but the things that had been drilled into my head since I was a child. I always believed I wasn’t creative and that I could never run a business because that’s what I’d always been told. I was consistently reminded that I didn’t have the smarts, skills, or perfection for it. Yet, here I am, day after day, running my business. But just because I have that consistent proof, doesn’t mean those internalized negative thoughts have gone away. So, I wanted to make a change.

I wanted 2024 to be a year where I focused on my growth and where I pushed myself. I wanted it to be a year where I went fully into things which made me feel scared when I thought of money, success, and my future business and financial goals. Kickstarter was the first thing on that list.

I’d wanted to run a Kickstarter for months. If I didn’t have any fear and fully believed in myself, I would have done it last year. But I was scared. I was scared of how long it would take, the work involved, and how active or always “on” I’d need to be when I knew that was something I struggled with. I was scared of my graphics not being good enough for this series which has both been incredibly rewarding and due to external forces, devastatingly heartbreaking and eye-opening.

But the thought wouldn’t leave me alone. I found myself going back to it, over and over again, until I finally said, “What’s the worst that can happen if I try?” The answer, of course, was that I could fail. If the Kickstarter failed, I’d find out in a very blunt way that what I’d made wasn’t good enough. That would mean those fears, those words that had been drilled into my head, were right. But the alternative would be bringing new life into the series, finding people who love it as much as I had when I first published it, before all the challenges and the discrimination my characters and I faced.

If I could just gather the courage to try and believe in myself a little bit more, I could have something beautiful. I could get something I needed—acceptance. And that’s exactly what happened.

This Kickstarter made almost $3500. That was the most money I’d made in one month in my entire working career. Before that, the most I’d made in a month was back in 2022 when I was working at a corporate job. And yet, this little thing that ran for seventeen days surpassed everything I’ve ever done.

I broke myself working in the corporate field. I’m still suffering from what I’ve come to realize is almost a decade’s worth of burnout. I worked so hard living month to month, and yet, by simply taking a chance and believing in myself, I made more than I ever have for a fraction of the stress.

Making a Kickstarter wasn’t easy. It took a lot of research, testing, learning, and understanding, And even with all that, when I felt the most confident about what I’d done, I had an expert tell me I wouldn’t fund the campaign twice.

Those words sent me into a spiral. They brought about every terrible fear I had, especially because she told me I wasn’t offering enough, doing enough, and that my books were overpriced. In a matter of a few sentences, she pulled out every single thing I was scared of, especially the fact that I was scared of assigning value to my work.

If you’re an author, you know how frequently people will tell you to price lower. You see it across the entire industry. There are full marketing plans made on pricing things at a discount or free, and they work. But so does asking for what you believe your work is worth. For every person who sells a book at $.99, there’s another who sells a book at $9.99. Are the strategies different? Yes. But can they both be successful? Yes. In fact, the book I read that helped me the most when it came to understanding Kickstarter as well as the shift in mentality, Get Your Book Selling on Kickstarter by Russell P. Nohelty and Monica Leonelle also mentioned this.

“That is why I love Kickstarter. It allows you to reasonably make a living on a reasonable number of fans, and not having to rely on chasing the lowest cost to get by on quality, because very few can play that game, and even fewer can win.”

Get Your Book Selling on Kickstarter by Russell P. Nohelty and Monica Leonelle

Truthfully, I’ll probably recommend that book until I’m blue in the face. It reminded me of why I’m wide, why I made that choice, and why I believed I could become an author in the first place. It’s because I believe in myself and my work, no matter the fear I may face or the changes in mindset I have to make, that is always there under all of it. It’s my little light in the vast array of my dark tunnel. It’s okay if I make mistakes. It’s okay if things don’t work out. It’s okay if what I’ve done doesn’t meet my expectations or the expectations of others. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to celebrate that I did it.

That’s what I learned after I got out of my spiral. One person’s opinion shouldn’t rival my own. I sat back, made sure my calculations were correct, and ended up amazed.

One of the things that I’ve seen happening now as I keep taking these chances is that the hardest part is getting out of my way. The second I can say, “Okay, I’ll try this,” and it feels easy, that’s when I have my greatest success. I saw it with My Brutal Beast, my best-selling book to date, and with this Kickstarter Campaign as well.

In the future, I plan to have Kickstarter as part of my launch plan. It not only did well for me financially, but it was fun! Books will appear there first, then my store, then on retailers, and I’m excited to see where that takes me.

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